DESIGNER COLUMNS & BLOGS / Architecture Is Fun

Posted in Architecture Is Fun on November 23, 2015 4:40 pm EST

Ink Evangelism Helps Clients Plug in to the Here and Now

As an architect or designer, why should you get to have all the fun? Some ideas to give your clients free reign to self-expression.

Designer Sharon Exley at Chicago's Architecture Is Fun turns wall space into a canvas for coloring and thinking out loud.









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TAGS: architectural design, children's ministry, churches, collaboration, creativity, worship,


By Peter Exley, FAIA, and Sharon Exley, MAAE, ASID

Our practice is all about play, drawing out of the box and coloring in the lines. We recognize art in any guise as a path to expression, self-care and inner calm....

Did you know that one of the best selling books, sold out for months, is coloring book for adults? For the avid colorist, the queen bee is Johanna Basford, a Scottish illustrator and self-proclaimed “ink evangelist,” who translated her passion for drawing into two grown-up coloring books, “Secret Garden” and “Enchanted Forest.” Both feature intricate patterns and scenery that would dizzy and delight most 4-year-olds.

Selling more than 1.5 million copies since its release in 2013, Secret Garden is well on its way to being one of Amazon’s best selling books of 2015. Once you’ve filled those in, we recommend Bethany Robertson, a young Brooklyn author who is responsible for two other adorable hip titles, “The Botanical Hand Lettering Workbook” and a book of cards to color and share, “Don’t Quit Your Day Dream.”

Looking at these exquisite offerings, you realize there is plenty of room to be creative, while staying within the lines:

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Meditative measures

Recent articles in the New York Times have been touting the benefits of coloring in adulthood as meditative and therapeutic. We say, “Yup, we know.” Our practice is all about play, drawing out of the box and coloring in the lines. We recognize art in any guise as a path to expression, self-care and inner calm—and we’re thrilled that one of the strongest, most-beloved tools in our toolboxes is catching on, again.

Image courtesy of Architecture Is Fun, Chicago.

Coloring is productive and it feels healthy and peaceful. Adult colorists have joined in the fun for varying reasons, some social and others to escape the everyday grind, a way to practice mindfulness and enjoy being in the moment.

The New York publishing firm McLoughlin Brothers are credited with the creation of the first coloring book in the 1880s when they produced “The Little Folks Paint Book,” a collaboration with Kate Greenaway. Paint and coloring books began to emerge in the United States, bringing art and education to people in accessible ways. They were a means to improve developmental skills and cognitive abilities. Through their history, coloring books have reflected their times and popular themes. By 2001, anti-coloring books surfaced, ways to rouse the artist in children without providing boundaries or lines, new interpretations to keep everyone coloring, in or out of the lines.  continued >>